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Do the Right Thing: The (The Criterion Collection) (1989)

Danny Aiello , Ruby Dee , Spike Lee  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (250 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Danny Aiello, Ruby Dee, Spike Lee, Ossie Davis, John Turturro
  • Directors: Spike Lee
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: February 20, 2001
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (250 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004XQMV
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,109 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Do the Right Thing: The (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Special Features, Disc One: The Movie
  • New widescreen digital transfer, enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions
  • Audio commentary by director Spike Lee, cinematographer Ernest Dickerson, production designer Wynn Thomas, and actor Joie Lee
  • Special Features, Disc Two: The Supplement
  • New video introductions by Spike Lee
  • New video interview with editor Barry Brown
  • Spike Lee and line producer Jon Kilik revisit the film's Bedford-Stuyvesant locations
  • St. Clair Bourne's 60-minute documentary, The Making of Do The Right Thing
  • Spike Lee's behind-the-scenes footage, from rehearsal to wrap
  • Original storyboards for the riot sequence, plus a film-to-storyboard comparison

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The hottest day of the year explodes onscreen in this vibrant look at a day in the life of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Featuring a stellar ensemble cast that includes Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito, Robin Harris, Samuel L. Jackson, Bill Nunn, Rosie Perez, and John Turturro, Spike Lee's powerful portrait of urban racial tensions sparked controversy while earning popular and critical praise. Criterion is proud to present Do the Right Thing in a new Director Approved special edition.

Additional Features

The Criterion Collection and Spike Lee have delivered an abundance of treasures in this new edition of Do the Right Thing. Addressing the viewer in video commentary specially filmed for this two-disc set, Lee warmly remembers the creative process and extraneous hoopla of his first masterpiece. Cameras were rolling on the day of the first read-through, capturing a fascinating glimpse of veteran actors and soon-to-be-knowns beginning to understand how special the film was going to be. Among other treats there's an illuminating one-hour making-of documentary; an interview with editor Barry Brown; and the video of Public Enemy's most lasting anthem, "Fight the Power." But Lee saves the best for the very end, delivering a "last word" in which he deliciously lambastes critics (by name!) who misguidedly predicted racial unrest upon the film's theatrical release. --Ryan Boudinot

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
69 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lee did the right thing February 25, 2001
Format:DVD
In only his third film, Spike Lee created a classic that is both socially relevant and artistically accomplished. By focusing the actions at one location in one day, this film reminds us that race relation cannot be improved if we don't improve the way each one of us interacts with everyone else. The film's finale is notable for its echos of real events that occurred not long before the film was made, and its prescience of events to follow. It is an unforgettable movie scene that shows how intolerance can victimize everyone. Nevertheless, the apocalyptic vision of the final scene did not sit well with some critics. Is it a call to end violence or to start violence, they asked. In the film Lee seems to say there are no easy answers.
Somewhat overlooked is the fact that the film also makes keen observations of lives of American black underclass, especially in the portrayals of the "cornermen". Their exchanges are as amusing as they are trenchant in commenting the state of affairs of lower-class blacks. And through them, Lee takes the uncompromising position that sometimes the underprivileged can also be victims of their own mentalities.
Also, Lee subtlely shows the many faces of racial intolerance. While Sal's son Pino overtly hates blacks, and Buggin' Out is overtly intolerant of whites, but is the attitude of Sal himself really conducive towards racial harmony? Does he have a desire to get to know his neighbors, or does he simply want to "have no trouble with these people", as he puts it? By leaving this aspect ambiguous, Lee makes us think just what IS the right thing to do...
Despite all the criticisms against him, I believe Lee tackled the difficult subject as intelligently as any director could have done.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hot Day In Brooklyn January 3, 2003
Format:DVD
Spike Lee's 1989 film Do The Right Thing is among a handful of films that rise above the level of actual entertainment. It is thought-provoking, educational study of race relations. The film takes place during one extremely hot day in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. The neighborhood is predominately black, but the film centers around a pizzeria owned by Sal (Danny Aiello) who is white. All of Sal's customers are the black, but on his wall he has pictures of white film and music stars. This is a source of irritation to some customers, especially the radically minded Buggin' Out (Giancarlo Esposito). But Sal refuses to change and he goes about his business. Sal's two sons, Pino (John Turturro) and Vito (Richard Edson) also work at the pizzeria as does Mookie (Mr. Lee) who is Sal's delivery boy. Pino is highly bigoted and isn't afraid to let his opinions be know, while Vito is more sensitive and adverse to confrontation. Real life husband and wife Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee appear as the neighborhood elders, Da Mayor & Mother Sister who are constantly trading humorous barbs at one another while dispensing advice to the locals. Other interesting characters such as Radio Raheem, Sweet Dick Willie & DJ Mister Senor Love Daddy are featured throughout the film. Mr. Lee does a brilliant job of conveying the extreme heat that has overtaken the neighborhood. You can almost feel the heat while watching the film. Tensions also slowly rise through the film until the climatic riot scene where Sal's pizzeria is burned down, started by Mookie throwing a garbage can through the window. This is particularly devastating to Sal as he genuinely cared for Mookie and can't believe Mookie would do this to him. Mr. Lee's message in the film is that one doesn't know exactly what the right thing is. Read more ›
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do the Right Thing - an irritating piece of genius November 6, 1999
Format:DVD
I remember a female friend of mine telling me she watched this film, and at the end stood up crying and yelling, "stop fighting! " This movie provokes you in that way. That Spike Lee managed to get these severe reactions from his actors - even the ones opposed to him onscreen - is brilliant. I doubt anybody in the cast completely agreed with his final product, but that is what makes this movie so moving. I wish other directors/producers would have the guts to tackle any subject as faithfully as Lee has here. I have followed John Turturro's career since "Do the Right Thing", and I'm barely able after all this time to forgive him for some of the things he says in this movie. Yes, it's only a movie. And Spike Lee is only a genius. To my friend who shouted in the theater, I can only say I wish this movie didn't have to be made.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That�s the double-truth� Ruth June 29, 2004
Format:DVD
In all likelihood Spike Lee's most important achievement - as director, writer and actor (though to my taste Mo' Better Blues is just as good a picture) and one of the strongest films you'll see about race relations, `Do The Right Thing' looks dated at times, but it lost none of its impact and relevance. The movie takes place in a particularly hot day in a primarily African-American neighborhood in Brooklyn, and follows the various personalities who live there throughout the day; the center of the story is Sal's Famous Pizzeria - its owners, some of the few white people living in the neighborhood: Sal (Oscar nominated performance for Danny Aiello) and his two sons (John Torturro and Richard Edson), and Mookie (Spike Lee himself), the black delivery boy. What starts out as a light, entertaining movie with some amusing characters and light humor, gradually builds up tension to the point of being unbearable, up to the dramatic and tragic climax. Spike doesn't put as much emphasis on the characters themselves as he does on the relationships and the tension between them; and in this image of a very specific and small frame in time and place, makes a strong and important message about racism and race relations in general.
The film is populated with many different characters, all of them very memorable and each one a representative of a certain belief, mode of behavior or state of mind - on both sides of the conflict.
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